Carpet cleaners with many years of experience remember the days when red stains were removed with the heat transfer method.
They would first clean the stain, then wet the stain with the red stain removal chemical, agitate it into the fiber, and use a damp towel and iron to transfer the stain out of the fiber and into the towel.
That method is still used today, with positive results, but there are many other tools that make the job even easier.
Analyze the "red" Before you decide which method and which type of chemical is best for the red stain you are trying to remove, you need to determine the cause of the stain.
Was it red wine, Kool-Aid, a soft drink, or something else?
A good rule of thumb to follow is to simply put the red stain into one of two classes: Organic or synthetic.
The removal technique for red wine will be very different than the one for red Kool-Aid.
Also, the following chemicals and procedures work great on a number of colored stains, not just the red variety.
But it is the red stain that has given many a carpet cleaner second thoughts as to his profession of choice.
It goes without saying to always test for fiber content and test your cleaning product to ensure color loss or fiber distortion does not occur.
Synthetic red stains These types of stains include, but are not limited to, some of the following:
- Food dyes and coloring
- Fruit juices (that deep color doesn't come from the 1% fruit juice content!)
- And others
Most synthetic stains require a reducing agent.
You can prove it to yourself… simply make up a small amount of red Kool-Aid or put some iodine in water until you can see the coloring.
Mix up your favorite reducing agent (or use it straight, if you are using a one-part product) and add a small amount to the solution.
In a few moments you will notice the color start to change, and eventually the reducing agent will remove the red.
Any color left behind is much easier to remove. This is the type of reaction you will get by applying the same chemical to the same type of stain on the carpet.
Of course, the age of the stain and what the customer might have already tried (chemicals obtained from under the kitchen sink) can make the job a bit more difficult.
Also, the application of most reducing agents requires a wet towel and steam iron, which means you not only get the bleaching effect of the reducing agent, but also the heat transfer effect.
Be careful not to damage the fabric or original carpet color.
A safer heat method would be to use a wallpaper steamer, or simply put a wet towel on the stain and weigh it down with a small bucket of very hot water.
Organic red stains These types of stains include, but are not limited to, some of the following:
- Red wine
- Juice (grape, cherry, etc)
- Food coloring
- Ketchup and other condiments
- And more
Oxidizing bleaches (sodium percarbonate, hydrogen peroxide, etc.) can work wonders as part of your stain removal expertise.
Again, you can prove to yourself how this works.
Pour some grape juice or red wine into a clear glass and add an oxidizing agent, mixed according to directions from the manufacturer.
In a short time you will notice a desirable color change.
As in the reducing agent procedure, the use of a wet towel and an iron will speed the chemical action and reduce the time needed to remove red organic stains.
A word of caution here: Be very careful with using high heat, as a strong oxidizing agent can remove original carpet color, much easier and faster than a reducing agent.
Jeff Cross is the senior editor of Cleanfax magazine and an industry trainer and consultant, and offers carpet cleaning marketing, disaster restoration marketing and contract cleaning marketing seminars and classes through Totally Booked University, and also IICRC technical training for carpet and furniture cleaning, spot and stain removal and carpet color repair. For more information, visit his technical training website and marketing training website.